Police: Suspect fatally shot by officers after fleeing, attempted break-in with gun

Jan 10, 2023, 5:50 AM | Updated: 5:18 pm

SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah — A man was shot and killed by police after officers say he fled on foot following a pursuit and attempted to break into a home with a gun in hand.

Chief Andrew Burton with the Saratoga Springs Police Department said the incident began in Lehi when officers attempted a traffic stop near 1000 E. Main Street late Monday night.

When the vehicle didn’t stop, Lehi police began pursuing and called Saratoga Springs officers for assistance. Spikes were successfully deployed, but the pursuit was stopped a short time later.

Burton said officers then followed the car into a neighborhood, where the suspect abandoned the vehicle and attempted to enter a home.

“He fled on foot from the vehicle once he was stopped and he ran up onto the porch to a residence in that neighborhood — gun in hand,” Burton said.

Police say the suspect did not obey orders to drop the weapon before being shot by officers. Burton said three officers fired their weapons, killing the man.

“I think we would have had, possibly had, a very dire situation had he gained entry,” Burton said. “He’s an armed individual, frantic. He probably would have taken them hostage. It’s a family with children and it would have been a very ugly situation.”

A neighbor to the family, Azalia Bocanegra said the neighborhood is in shock.

“That’s kind of terrifying to think: it could have been us,” Bocanegra said.

“It was clear enough, it was light enough, it was obvious enough that they had to make a decision. Sometimes those decisions have to be made — it’s not an easy decision,” Burton said. “In this case, it was pretty clear the suspect had a gun in his hand. Even after he was shot, he fell to the ground with the gun in his hand.”

“I just count my blessings that it wasn’t my house and that everybody turned out ok,” Bocanegra said.

“It was scary,” Daniel Pascua, another neighbor said. “This is a pretty quiet neighborhood.

Police have not identified the suspect but said he is from Salt Lake City and has a long criminal history, including assault and drug possession.

Officers said they do not believe the suspect had any connection to the home he attempted to enter, and the family that was inside the home heard him trying to break in.

Members of that family did not suffer any physical injuries.

The Utah County Officer Involved Incident Protocol has been initiated and a task force will investigate the shooting. Investigators were working Tuesday morning to collect evidence, including footage from porch cameras and body cameras.

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Police: Suspect fatally shot by officers after fleeing, attempted break-in with gun